Poverty Costs is a campaign to raise awareness about the economic cost of poverty and give Saskatchewan people an opportunity to voice their support for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.

Take action, learn more about poverty in this province, and share Poverty Costs with the people in your community!

Click Start when you’re ready to begin. At any time, you can click Take Action Now to get involved.

Together, we can create a better plan.

About the Campaign

About the Campaign

Poverty Stats

Poverty Stats

Stories of Poverty

Stories of Poverty

Campaign updates

Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction Recommendations Released




Read more

Poverty Costs Community Consultation Report Released

Our team is pleased to present “From Experience: Community Voices for Saskatchewan’s Poverty Reduction Plan. A Community Consultation” by Poverty Costs. The report is based on consultations held in March and April of 2015. The goal of this consultation was to ensure that individuals with a lived experience of poverty had the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on what should be included in the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction’s (AGPR) recommendations for Saskatchewan’s poverty reduction strategy. Over 130 individuals participated and 10 organizations submitted group discussions. We extend our sincere thank you to all organizations and individual who came together to make this report possible.

Key highlights:
Frequent barriers to moving out of poverty identified by respondents included:
  • rising costs of living without adequate, indexed income or income support
  • lack of transportation options and accessibility
  • high housing costs and lack of appropriate housing options
  • limited education and support to access further education
  • lack of access to secure, well-paying jobs
  • lack of supports for parents, including daycare
Primary supports in helping “make ends meet” included:
  • employment income
  • government income support
  • family
Responses about what might help people move out of poverty, and prevent others in Saskatchewan from falling into poverty were most often related to systems-level change. Changes identified included:
  • access to safe and affordable housing
  • employment opportunities
  • supports for training and education
  • improved supports for childcare
  • universal guaranteed income
  • minimum wage and social assistance indexed to the costs of living

Throughout the consultation, it was very clear that poverty has complex and diverse causes and solutions. The results strongly support comprehensive and system level change to reduce poverty in our province.

The report was submitted to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction in May, 2015 with the hope that the experience and ideas of those with a lived experience of poverty are considered for the AGPRs recommendations for the provincial poverty reduction strategy.

We look forward to reviewing the AGPRs recommendations once they are released.

To view the full report, please click here

Add your voice

The Government of Saskatchewan’s Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction has launched their online forum for individuals and organizations to have their say on what should be included in their recommendations for the provincial poverty reduction strategy. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and head on over to their website to fill out the online survey. The site will remain live until May 15, 2015.

Please remember that Poverty Costs works separately from the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction. We’re very proud of the fact that Poverty Costs is a successful community collaborative, working to ensure that the voices of individuals with a lived experience of poverty are included in our work!

Our team would like to extend a huge thank you to those organizations and individuals who took time out of their hectic schedules to support Poverty Costs’ targeted community consultations held throughout March and April.  We received an excellent number of completed surveys and group discussion notes from around the province. With your support, we will be able to include the ideas and opinions of individuals with a lived experience of poverty in our submission to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction. Stay tuned for more!

Have your voice heard!

The Poverty Costs team has been working hard at developing a community engagement strategy to provide people with a lived experience of poverty with the opportunity to have their voice heard as the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction moves forward with their recommendations for the province’s poverty reduction strategy. Working separately from the Advisory Group, Poverty Costs has developed a kit for organizations working with people who are experiencing, or have experienced poverty. We’re asking organizations across the province to gather the voices of their community in one of two ways. Either through a facilitated group discussion or through an individual survey on poverty and poverty reduction in Saskatchewan. The information gathered will be kept anonymous and will be summarized by the Poverty Costs team and submitted to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction. The report will also be made available to the organizations taking part and the public.

If your organization works with people with a lived experience of poverty and would like to either facilitate a group discussion or disseminate a survey please contact us at povertycosts@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to share the kit and support you as best we can.

If you or your organization would like to submit feedback directly to the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction you will be able to do so online. When available, there will be a link provided here as well as an updated email address of who to connect with for any questions directly related to the work the Advisory Group is undertaking.

Thanks for your continued support - Together we can create a better plan that will benefit us all!


Exciting updates from the Poverty Costs team!

An update on the development of a provincial poverty reduction strategy

We’re thrilled to hear that the Advisory Committee has begun working towards a poverty reduction strategy for our province. We’re happy to see Alison Robertson named as co-chair of the advisory group, and individuals like Ryan Meili and Cory Neudorf as committee members. We are confident that they will bring excellent insight to the Advisory Committee and wish them all the best as they prepare recommendations for the Government’s poverty reduction strategy.

The Poverty Costs partners have spent a lot of time discussing what our role might look like in the coming months. What we know for sure is that Poverty Costs is committed to infusing the development of the strategy with First Voice wherever possible, and will be seeking to provide opportunities for the community to have their voices heard.

Stay tuned for more information as the next phase of strategic planning unfolds!

2014 Global Citizen Awards

This year, the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation is ‘celebrating the power of people working together’. We’re honoured to have been recognized as a recipient of a Global Citizen Award for our efforts throughout our campaign in 2014. A huge thank you to Ethel, Lois and Sharon for nominating the team! We would also like to acknowledge the hard work dedicated to poverty reduction put forth by other Saskatchewan based organizations over many years. Without you, the Poverty Costs campaign wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. Hope to see you at the Awards Gala on February 5th! For more information, please check out the event on Facebook or click here.

Hope to see you at the Awards Gala on February 5th. The event is free and refreshments will be provided!  

We did it!


Congratulations everyone! Today, the Government of Saskatchewan has committed to concerted, comprehensive action on poverty reduction in Saskatchewan

We’re proud the Saskatchewan Government is taking further comprehensive action by focusing resources and setting an ambitious target to reduce poverty where it’s hitting the hardest. This plan is a commitment to helping our most vulnerable residents fully participate in all our province has to offer. The Government’s actions today are the starting point for a healthier future for all people in Saskatchewan. We look forward to working closely with the Government of Saskatchewan to develop a plan specific to the unique strengths and challenges of our province.

We thank you for your tremendous support over the course of the campaign. We wouldn’t be here today without you!

- The Poverty Costs team

Great response to the Poverty Costs report!

The Poverty Costs team is incredibly pleased with the great responses to the release of our report last week. We're so excited to be a part of the conversation about poverty reduction in our province and the need for a poverty reduction plan. It's not too late to join the call! Click here to sign a letter of support today. 

"There are good charitable reasons for doing poverty reduction. But when we start talking about the costs of poverty and realising the way that the poverty of some individuals in our community costs all of us, we can start thinking a lot more constructively. We can think about that spending on poverty reduction as an investment, rather than just a pure cost," he said.

Robertson said right now, Saskatchewan is one of two provinces in the country without a detailed anti-poverty strategy. 

"We do know that poverty reduction plans work. For example, since Newfoundland adopted a plan in 2006, they've gone from a province with one of the highest poverty rates to a province with one of the lowest poverty rates," she said." 


Poverty Costs Saskatchewan Report Released!

Report_thumb.PNGWe're please to announce the release of the Poverty Costs report, entitled Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A New Approach to Prosperity for All. The report gives an overview of poverty in Saskatchewan and its costs, and provides evidence for the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Saskatchewan. You can find the report and the Executive Summary on our Resources page.

We hope that you'll take a look at the report and circulate it widely. Thanks so much to report authors Charles Plante and Keisha Sharp, and to all of the campaign team members that contributed their time and expertise to this project!


Press Release:

The Poverty Costs campaign team, who earlier this year uncovered that poverty costs Saskatchewan $3.8 billion annually, has released an official report detailing the state of poverty in this province and the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Saskatchewan.  

The report, developed by Poverty Costs partner organization Upstream, provides evidence that while our province’s booming resource economy has contributed to reduced rates of poverty in Saskatchewan, poverty is deepening for those who continue to experience it. According to Statistics Canada, in 2002, the average poor household in Saskatchewan reported incomes 26.9% below the poverty threshold, while this number rose to 37.6% in 2010. Vicious cycles of poverty, combined with rising costs of living in Saskatchewan, produce significant barriers to health and well-being and prevent people from fully engaging in society both economically and socially.

“Poverty causes poor physical and mental health, and the reverse is also often true,” says Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, Deputy Medical Health Officer in Saskatoon Health Region and co-chair of the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership. “But income is associated with health and wellbeing for everybody, not just for people who can’t afford the needs of daily life. A healthy society can alleviate and prevent poverty through collective and comprehensive actions.”

The report includes an overview of comprehensive poverty reduction strategies throughout Canada, and points out that Saskatchewan is one of two provinces that has not implemented or committed to such a strategy. Comprehensive poverty reduction strategies have proven highly successful in reducing poverty in other resource-rich provinces.

“For example, in Newfoundland, the incidence of low-income in the province decreased from 12% in 2004 to 5% in 2011,” says Charles Plante, co-author of the report.

The report also includes an in depth explanation of the methodology behind the cost of $3.8 billion per year, and argues that given this cost, poverty reduction can be understood as a wise economic investment. It asserts that, given our declining rates of poverty, Saskatchewan is well-positioned to set ambitious poverty reduction targets.

 “Poverty continues to cost us so much in human suffering, unmet potential, and direct costs associated with addressing the symptoms of poverty,” says Alison Robertson, a Poverty Costs Representative. “We truly believe that together, we can make a better plan."

Saskatchewan residents are urged to visit the Poverty Costs website, www.povertycosts.ca, and join the call for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan by signing a letter of support to the provincial government.


Media Contacts: 



Director of Community Development

Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre






Policy Director







Medical Health Officer,

Saskatoon Health Region




Welcome to Poverty Awareness Week

pov-awareness-week.pngWe're thrilled to announce the start of Poverty Awareness Week here in Saskatchewan! Throughout the week we'll be letting you know about all of the great events you can take part in. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements later in the week, including a relaunch of our website, and the release of the Poverty Costs Saskatchewan report.

Happy Poverty Awareness Week from the Poverty Costs team!